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Zara Trademark Saga: History Repeats Itself
When Shakespeare wrote the famous line “what’s in a name” he definitely did not anticipate the redundancy of the statement in the context of intellectual property. It’s all about the name! There are numerous legal suits that have ensued over the copying of a name. And why shouldn’t they, there is tremendous amount of goodwill and reputation attached to a name.
Recently, Zara the Spanish clothing brand, sued a Chennai based restaurant for using its name. The restaurant was called “Zara Tapas Bar” and according to the plaintiffs the name ‘Zara’ was being used to ride on the well-known status of the brand. The defendants claimed that as both entities functioned in different areas of service, it was unlikely that it would cause any confusion amongst the customers. The Delhi High Court however, sided with the clothing brand and the restaurant was ordered to change its name.
Do you know how Zara got its name? Well, a long time ago in La Coruna, sometime in 1975 the founder of Zara, Amancio Ortega was looking for a name for his clothing brand, more like his first fashion store. He zeroed on the name “Zorba”, inspired by the famous motion picture “Zorba the Greek”. However he discovered that just two blocks away there was bar which went by the same name. They clearly had different areas of business, but the owner of the bar insisted that having two Zorbas in one place may cause confusion amongst the people. So Ortega rearranged the letters in the name, trying to keep it phonetically as close as possible to Zorba and ‘Zara’ was born.
Well that’s a strange coincidence, isn’t it?